There’s a local band here in Milwaukee whose shows I frequently try to catch around town. This group is an immensely talented trio who always look like they’re having a blast performing, which by itself makes them fun to watch. But one of the more interesting aspects of seeing their shows is the “super fan.”
This is the nickname I’ve given to a guy that I always see at the shows, usually decked out in a cowboy hat and two stepping around the dance floor with all the concentration and seriousness of a Russian Olympic gymnast competing for the gold. He’s usually by himself out there on the floor because everybody else is too self conscious to just go out there and dance.
The super fan does not give a damn about any of this. He is out there dancing. To every song. Oblivious to other people’s hangups. And even though dancing isn’t exactly a high stakes activity like, for instance, free falling from outer space, there is a certain level of bravery playing out.
My point in this observation is to consider those times when we stop ourselves from experiencing fun because we’re worried about “acting our age” or being judged by others. What will other people think?
The reality is that people actually care a lot less than you think. They’re too busy worrying about how everybody sees them and doing their best not to look stupid in front of anyone, too.
Which is not to say that our actions don’t matter, or that you should just do whatever you want regardless of consequences. Of course it’s not okay to hurt anyone else, but fortunately, putting oneself on the spot by say, wearing a crazy hat, mixing plaid with polka dots, or dancing alone in public does not fall into this category.
A good litmus test is the question “will what I’m doing have any actual negative effect on anyone else?” And if that answer is no, then by all means, proceed with impunity and reckless abandon.
As an event photographer, I’ve sometimes see this happen often. People have a way of becoming extremely self conscious when they know that there’s a camera or video camera there to document the moment (one of the reasons that I keep a low profile when photographing events is to get people to relax and forget I’m even there). The DJ is playing heart pumping beats but they’re sitting on the sidelines instead of busting a move on the dance floor, afraid to let down their guard for even a moment in case the camera captures it. I’m not immune to this feeling either, by the way, even though I’m acknowledging it.
I remember one really great moment at a wedding I was photographing. A bridesmaid was clearly feeling self conscious, when an elderly relative took her by the hand and pretty soon the two were rocking out with everyone else. I’ll never forget the look of joy on either of their faces. It’s this kind of experience that just reminds me again why I have a pretty awesome job.
Ironically, it’s usually when we stop worrying about how we look that we look our best. Because authenticity is a beautiful thing. When we allow the cracks to break apart the outer facade, the world can see that inner light radiating from within.
Life is too short and the moments of pure unadulterated joy too fleeting to waste even a minute worrying about looking silly. So get out there on the floor and dance like no one is watching.
Jennifer and Eric’s July wedding took place at the historic Best Place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin– home to the former Pabst Brewing Company headquarters. On the afternoon of the wedding, I met up with the couple for a first look at the Brewhouse Inn and Suites, where the couple saw one another for the first time on their wedding day as they met in front of the striking series of polished copper kettles that line the boutique hotel’s second floor. The bridal party posed for a few photos on the unique, eclectic furniture and colorful antique stained glass windows that decorate the former factory. Outside, we incorporated the nature-meets-urban architectural backdrop of the sculptural rock wall at nearby Zilber Park and the native wildflowers growing abundantly from the concrete trench drains near the sidewalks. After a courtyard ceremony, the newlyweds greeted their friends and families under a statue of King Gambrinus, legendary cultural icon of beer. The party continued into the evening inside Best Place, where the couple and their guests ate, toasted and danced the evening away.
Hannah and Matt had a lovely vision for their May wedding at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners, WI. Despite less than perfect weather, the couple and their wedding party were all smiles underneath their umbrellas, and the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits! Later that evening, the newlyweds danced the night away in the cozy setting of the Pulaski Inn in Cudahy, WI.
Jen Janviere is a wedding and event photographer based in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. In her spare time, she travels, blogs and plays with her indie garage band. [button button_text= "CONTACT" icon= "" icon_alignment= "left" url= "https://www.janvierephoto.com/contact" type= "small" alignment= "left" bg_color= "#333" hover_bg_color= "#333" color= "#ffffff" hover_color= "#333" border_width= "" border_color= "#333" hover_border_color= "" background_animation= "bg-animation-none" ]